Edmonton Oilers: Iiro Pakarinen the Odd Man Out?

EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 12: Iiro Pakarinen. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 12: Iiro Pakarinen. (Photo by Andy Devlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Edmonton Oilers find themselves with pretty decent depth on the forward lines. Though their right wing depth isn’t the best, it is stable enough to add scoring.

Leon Draisaitl may be staying on the first line right wing, Jesse Puljujarvi looks ready to come in and make an imapct at the NHL level after a year with the Condors. Jussi Jokinen may be a left-hand shot, but can play either side of the wing and round out the bottom-six. That leaves Zack Kassian to round out the fourth line.

Edmonton Oilers
Edmonton Oilers /

Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton also has another right wing in Iiro Pakarinen. However, he has not contributed much offensively or stood out, and could be the odd man out this season.

Due to a knee injury suffered at the beginning of 2016-17, the Finnish winger was limited to just 14 games with the Oilers this season, finishing with two goals, four points and 30 hits. Pakarinen  appeared in one playoff game for Edmonton and also played five games with the Bakersfield Condors, registering just one assist.

The 6-foot-1, 209-pound winger is a physical presence that can throw his weight around and win battles for the puck. Though he’s not a standout goal scorer, he does step up and works well under pressure, often scoring clutch goals.

However, Pakarinen is inconsistent and though he is a finisher, he hasn’t produced impressive point totals at either level. In addition, his possession metrics are far from impressive, and he is not the most versatile forward on the ice.

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Given Edmonton’s depth on the wing, and Pakarinen’s inability to play strong at any other position, he will likely start the year with Bakersfield. The 25-year-old does need more development and growth, and considering his ability, he will better produce at the minor league level. Besides, it is better for him to get ice time and develop than be the Oilers’ 13th forward.